JAMAiCA ANd CUbA
Jamaica's relationship with Cuba evoked much attention and emotion from political and economic observers and decision makers at both the domestic and the external levels. The issue led to intense disputes, the arguments of which were regularly warped by subliminal political antipathies and manifest utterances of disdain, which increasingly prohibited the rational exchange of arguments and a fair acknowledgement of the other side's point of view. This dialogue of the deaf elevated the essentially quite plain and sober relationship with Jamaica's neighbour to a level where Cuba became a mere metaphor for a wider political credo. The ensuing situation created great damage for Jamaica's foreign relations in toto, but also served to distort the proper implementation of domestic political and socioeconomic programmes. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the issue of Cuba was the most critical and controversial of all the Manley government's foreign policy ventures in the 1970s.
In an act of coordinated foreign policy, the governments of Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana established diplomatic relations with Cuba on December 8, 1972. Initially it seemed that, for the new PNP government, entertaining relations with Cuba was mainly a "Third World affair". In his first budget speech Manley had affirmed that: